Yesterday I went out with one of my relatives. While I did become slightly anxious and needed their help coming and going, I think that all and all, I did pretty well. I got through the experience and for a long time, that was something that seemed impossible.
Even though I ended up doing okay, once I was back in the car, I found myself apologizing that I struggled a little. Now, sometimes, even much later on, I realize how difficult my anxiety might have been to deal with. However, later on yesterday after I had calmed down, I realized that I really didn’t do too horribly. I went out, I stayed the entire time, and I even enjoyed myself for a little bit before I became anxious. All in all, I did an okay job. The thing is, though, that for some reason I still felt guilty.
I think part of the reason that I feel guilty so often is because I wish that I didn’t struggle at all. I wish that I could do things without feeling so anxious – without asking at times for help from others. The thing that I have to remember though is that I have made progress and that the journey to get through anxiety is often one that takes a lot of hard work. It doesn’t happen over night.
Also, while I’m not trying to play the blame game, there are some people who seem to try to make us feel guilty. They come off (and might well be) as embarrassed of our struggle. Sometimes their feelings are quite obvious and this can be hard to deal with. After all, it’s hard enough for us to go through this let alone witness our loved ones being embarrassed of our issues.
We need to remember to count on ourselves for approval and recognition. Yesterday after apologizing to my relative, she said, “Sometimes you just need to push through”. While this may be true, I also think she tends not to realize how hard ‘pushing through’ anxiety can really be. Sometimes it is so strong that it doesn’t just allow you to step through its hold.
Instead of apologizing yesterday, I should have simply told myself that I did pretty well. I should have just mentally assessed that while I could do better next time, there was a time when I would have struggled even more. If my relative couldn’t see that, it’s too bad. Relying on her to tell me how well I did was pointless – especially when she tends to only see the mistakes I make or struggles that occur.
Apologizing isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes when I really feel like I’ve caused a lot of frustration because someone had to deal with my anxiety, I think apologizing is the right thing to do. However, there are times when no matter what, you can’t satisfy the person who you’re dealing with. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, if you’re not absolutely struggle-free, they’ll grow angry.
The bottom line is this – we are not burdens. While our anxiety might be frustrating for both ourselves and others, we’re not burdens and it is not our fault that we struggle. As long as we are trying our hardest on a consistent basis to get better, this is what matters.
There may be times when others try to make us feel guilty for struggling with anxiety or other issues. There may even be times when others grow embarrassed of our struggles – maybe you’ve been embarrassed of your struggle yourself. I know I have. I hate to admit it, but it’s true.
Please know that you don’t have to be embarrassed of your struggle. You are not alone. We all go through things. While we may all struggle in different ways, we all deal with hardships. Whether or not it always feels like it, there are people whom you can trust and who will support you.